Co-op Stories: Caleb Grenier

By: Caleb Grenier

Before Caleb Grenier left campus after graduating in August 2019 from the Biomedical Engineering program, he graciously shared about his co-op experience with CO-OPS + CAREERS.

Caleb Headshot in CEIS Lobby

  • Where was your co-op?

My second co-op was a return to IDEXX Laboratories Technical Manufacturing department which I worked at during the optional co-op semester. My role was to investigate and update an SOP purification for Avian Influenza.

  • Why were you interested in returning to IDEXX Laboratories?

IDEXX’s R&D department is well known for developing revolutionary testing methods for diseased animals and livestock. The idea of working in a lab performing biochemical processes that contributed valuable research really sparked my interest.

  • What was a typical day like at your co-op?

I would get free coffee from the cafeteria when I arrived. I would then sit down and drink my coffee while either looking over any data I collected from the previous day or planning out an experiment for the day. I would then connect with my supervisor to see if he was okay with the procedure I came up with. I would then perform the experiment(s) for the rest of the work day.

  • While on co-op, what project(s) were you a part of that inspired you?

I was able to collect a lot of important data for the update of the Avian Influenza purification. I was truly inspired by the project and the people I was working with. At the end I gave the biggest presentation of my life to date. I felt a sense of accomplishment because I felt like I was able to contribute valuable work and knowledge to the team.

  • What did you need to focus on inside or outside of the classroom to be successful as a candidate?

Practicing professionalism and networking often outside of the classroom was important to securing this co-op in particular. In terms of being in the classroom, Biochemistry was the most important class I took before this co-op. It helped me have intelligent conversations about science, but it also helped me think critically about experimental design when it came to purification of virus.

  • What advice do you have for students interested in Bio Analytics and working for a company like IDEXX?

Unexpected experimental results are not indicative of failure, in fact unexpected experimental results are what makes you grow and think in ways that the past version of you didn’t.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Caleb! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience with us (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Fall 2019 Drop-In Hours: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Co-op Stories: James Bednar

By: James Bednar

James is a Wentworth senior in the Electromechanical Engineering program with minors in Applied Mathematics and Physics. He graciously shared his recent co-op experience with CO-OPS + CAREERS:

  • Where was your co-op?

My co-op this summer has been at Hanscom Air Force Base, which is predominantly located within the city of Bedford, Massachusetts. I’ve been working as a SMART Program Intern for the Enterprise IT and Cyber Infrastructure Division of the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks (C3I&N) Program Office.

The majority of the work at Hanscom AFB is in support of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), which is responsible for acquiring, sustaining, and eventually disposing of complex systems utilized by the Air Force.

Within my assigned organization, engineers are responsible for ensuring that IT and cyber systems are designed, acquired, and sustained in a manner that allows the entire Air Force to benefit from modern information systems. This poses a unique challenge, especially for organizations as large and geographically dispersed as the U.S. military.

 

  • What was your search and interview process like?

My co-op search was unique in the sense that it mainly consisted of a traditional scholarship application. After collecting the references, transcripts, and essays required to apply to SMART, I waited to see whether or not I would be offered a place within the program.

While applicants can list their preferences for potential work assignments, there’s no guarantee that they will get assigned to any of their top choices. I ended up being very fortunate, as I was both offered a spot in the SMART Scholarship Program and assigned to AFLCMC at Hanscom AFB, which was my first choice when applying to the program.

  • What is the SMART Scholarship Program?

The Science Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program is an initiative led by the Department of Defense seeking to provide college students with a pathway into civil service. The SMART Program offers college funding opportunities at the Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral level in exchange for working as a Department of Defense civilian employee for a few years upon graduation.

When explaining the program, I tell people that the SMART Program is analogous to a civilian ROTC program, where students are contracted to work for one year as a civilian engineer for each year they receive financial assistance from the program. It’s an imperfect analogy, but helps to capture the fact that program participants typically want to pursue civilian service as their chosen career pathway.

  • How did you learn about SMART?

I learned about the SMART Scholarship Program shortly before entering my freshman year at Wentworth. Initially, I was accepted and planned on attending the United States Coast Guard Academy but was medically disqualified at the last minute due to an injury received during basketball practice towards the end of high school.

Wentworth was always my top choice outside of Coast Guard, so I decided to move out to Boston with the hope of finding another way to pursue service in a civilian capacity. After eventually settling on the major of Electromechanical Engineering, I decided to apply to SMART during my sophomore year and was fortunate enough to be accepted into the program.

  • Why are you interested in this work/completing your co-op with your employer?

I have wanted to pursue service in some capacity since my freshman year of high school. The SMART Program provides a great introduction to government service within the Department of Defense, which I hope to build upon as I continue throughout my career.

Long term, I want to apply my technical experience to the field of public policy, and starting my career at Hanscom AFB will provide a great introduction to the crossroads of engineering and acquisitions policy as it pertains to the Air Force. Furthermore, I hope the opportunity to work on enterprise information systems will help inform my decision as I look to study either Applied Physics or Systems Engineering in graduate school.

  • What is a typical day like at your co-op?

A typical day will vary widely depending on what stage a system is its lifecycle. While I’ve been focusing on getting a feel for the organization on-the-job training and shadowing during this co-op, I’m looking forward to working on some exciting systems as I move forward at Hanscom AFB.

  • What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing the SMART scholarship?

First, I would encourage students interested in pursuing this opportunity (or work as a technical professional in any government organization) to “know your why”. Working as an engineer on the civilian side of the Department of Defense (or any area of the government) offers some unique opportunities you simply will not find anywhere else, and the work can be very rewarding. However, working as a civil servant is different than a career in private industry. Knowing why you decided to pursue civil service can help provide perspective when you have those inevitable “what if” moments when talking to friends working in private industry.

More importantly, if you’re truly interested in what the SMART Program has to offer, my biggest advice would be to go for it. The SMART Program provides a fantastic opportunity, and it would be great to see other Wentworth students pursue the program along with me. If anyone out there is interested in SMART or has any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, either around campus or via email.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, James! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Fall 2019 Drop-In Hours: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

CO-OP + CAREER Fair Event Recap

By: Abbey Pober

Our annual Fall CO-OP + CAREER Fair was held on Tuesday, October 2nd from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm in Tansey Gymnasium. The event hosted 180 employers ranging from local design firms to international technology organizations and everything in between. It was our most well attended Fair to date, drawing 875 students from all majors, seeking both co-op and full-time opportunities. Students came prepared to spend the afternoon learning and making new connections.

Fall Career Fair

Students who attended the CO-OP + CAREER Fair, below are some tips for following up. If you had a LinkedIn photo taken, look for an email from coopsandcareers@wit.edu in about a month.

  • Send a thank you email to the employers with whom you spoke. Find our guide to thank you notes here. If you need a reminder of which companies with whom you spoke a list of employers is available on our website for reference. Use this opportunity to include a copy of your resume, even if you gave them one at the Fair.
  • If a recruiter gave you specific instructions, be sure to follow through on those items and then follow up with the recruiter.
  • Unable to send a thank-you note for lack of contact information? Stay connected through social media: find the company or even the person you spoke with on LinkedIn or Twitter. Follow their feeds to stay up to date on new openings and other news!
  • You are always welcome to check in with your Co-op + Career Advisor to see if they can provide you with any helpful information, too.

Fall Career Fair Booths

If you were unable to attend the Fair be on the lookout for future opportunities to connect with employers, including the announcement about the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair. Our next event is Mock Interview Day, on October 22nd , and student registration is now open on WITworks. This is a great opportunity to practice your interview skills and get feedback directly from employers.

Employers, be on the lookout for future recruiting opportunities in the coming months, and for details about our spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair. Interested in participating in Mock Interview Day? Register for this free event through your WITworks account or by contacting Chris McIntyre, mintyrec@wit.edu.

Thank you to everyone who joined on October 2nd for the Fair. A special thank you to our sponsors: BOND BrothersCommodore BuildersDACONElectric Supply Center, NOVO Construction, Schneider Electric, and TG Gallagher. Your support makes all the difference.

 

We look forward to seeing everyone at our next event!

Co-op Stories: Kelsey Degouveia

By: Kelsey Degouveia

Kelsey is a recent Wentworth graduate of the Biomedical Engineering program with a minor in Biology. Looking back on her time at Wentworth, she shared with us about her very first co-op experience:

  • Tell us about your co-op at Wyss Institute:

My first co-op was at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. I got to work side by side with a graduate student in the Ingber Lab studying metastasis of non-small cell lung cancer in microfluidic devices. As a Research Associate, I helped a lot with imaging, data analysis, and pharmaceutical comparing chemotherapy with novel treatment drugs. For my sophomore optional co-op, junior year co-op and senior year co-op I was a Research Associate in the Manalis Lab at the Koch Institute at MIT. During my time at MIT, I have had the opportunity to study circulating tumor cells (CTCs) with an optofluidic platform, in real-time, from a small cell lung cancer mouse model. I am involved in the fabrication of microfluidic devices and supplies, maintaining and handling our mouse colony and analysis of tumors cells collected. I have also had the opportunity to explore independent projects using deterministic lateral displacement (DLD) devices and suspended microchannel resonator (SMR) to investigate size separation and growth of CTCs.

KelseyDeGouveia in lab

  • Why were you interested in completing your co-op in the role?

I was interested in joining a research lab because I was curious about medicine and thought I wanted to solve the mysteries of cancer and other diseases. Ultimately research has helped me find my passion for medicine.

  • While on co-op, what project were you a part of, or something that you worked on, that has inspired you? 

I think being a part of a team that is using optics and microfluidics to study biological questions has been so inspiring because it is the perfect balance of my interest in science and education in engineering. The system has been used in so many different collaborations and has allowed me to meet many great researchers and learn about different fields of cancer research. The first project I worked on in the lab, that focused on longitudinal measurements of our SCLC model led to my first publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

  • How did you decide you wanted to pursue med-school?

During my first year at Wentworth, I thought research would be the perfect avenue for me to discover the unknown of different disease like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, but I ultimately realized, after a few years in research labs, that I wanted to help people now, in the moment, and not just work towards a cure for the future.

  • What resources have you found helpful in your application and search process?

Colleges with pre-med tracks have online resources posted for their pre-med students along with helpful information provided by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) on medical school requirements and virtual medical school fairs that let you chat with admission representatives from schools all over the country. Surprisingly, Reddit had a ton of helpful information on people’s study tips for the MCAT and people talking about their pre-med journey.

  • What is the application/search process like?

The application process is very interesting because each school is unique but great in their own way. I think that for me it has been helpful to make a list of the things that I want in my medical school experience and searching for schools that match that criteria, like a school with great opportunities to continue doing research.

  • What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing med-school?

I think the most helpful thing is to get a head start on communicating with physicians, and other pre-med/medical school student older than you. Developing a relationship with mentor is a fantastic resource for advice, a way to build your network, and someone who can help you understand a very long and difficult process.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Kelsey! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Fall 2019 Drop-In Hours: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

How to Work Transferable Skills Into Your Resume

By: Kristen Eckman

During the beginning stages of hiring, many employers, especially in the STEM fields, are focused on hard skills (i.e. specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured, such as the ability to use software programs). However, when determining the ultimate hirability of a candidate, soft or transferable skills are in the forefront of employers’ minds. If you feel your hard skills are lacking, or you want to differentiate yourself during the final stages, focus on the transferable skills you have to offer. 

What are Transferable Skills?

Transferable skills are the aptitude and knowledge that you acquire through any experience that can be transferred to future employment settings. According to Wikipedia, “A transferable skill is an ability or expertise which may be used in a variety of roles or occupations.” They are less tangible and harder to quantify than hard skills.

Examples include:

  • Interpersonal or customer service skills (such as diplomacy, negotiation, and collaboration)
  • Communication skills (such as writing, speaking, and presenting)
  • Leadership skills (such as delegation, scheduling, and training)
  • Self-Management (such as professionalism, organizational skills, and time-management skills)
  • Critical thinking (such as problem solving, decision making, and analysis)

Student writing

How Do I Identify or Gain Transferable Skills?

When identifying the transferable skills that you may already have, think about what past professors, teammates, or managers have said that you do well. Transferable skills can be gained from any experience including:

  • Education:
    • Completing academic projects and papers show research, analytical, and presentation skills
    • Group projects help you practice communication and collaboration skills
    • Managing a heavy class load or balancing school with work impart organizational skills and time management
  • Co-op:
    • Collaborating with multi-departmental teams instills communication and interpersonal skills
    • Taking the lead on a project teaches project management, problem solving, organizational skills, and the ability to prioritize and take initiative
    • Explaining complex technical points to laypeople uses communication skills
  • Unrelated Work Experience:
    • Supervising people demonstrates leadership, training, or delegation skills
    • Working on several stations or projects at once leads to skills in multi-tasking
    • Learning to be prompt, adhering to deadlines, and staying focused on work related duties are all aspects of professionalism
    • Interacting with customers, clients, or managers develops interpersonal and communication skills
  • Volunteering, Sports Team, Participating in an Organization, or a Personal Project/Hobby:
    • Depending on the experience, these can be opportunities to develop skills such as event planning, organization, team work, leadership, problem solving, negotiation, or teaching

How Do I Highlight Transferable Skills?

Examine job descriptions to see what employers in your industry value. Use the key words and action verbs mentioned in the job description on your resume and in your cover letter. Sometimes employers use applicant tracking systems or ATS to screen incoming resumes for keywords relevant to the particular job. Resumes that contain more of the keywords that employers are looking for will be ranked higher by the ATS. This is why it is a good idea to not only tailor each cover letter you send but each resume as well.

  • Resumes
    • Add a Leadership section to highlight supervisory experience, volunteer work, or group membership
    • Use strong actions verbs that convey your transferable skills to begin each bullet
    • See the Wentworth Action Verbs handout
  • Cover Letters
    • Tailor each cover letter to each job description by matching your transferable skills with the ones used in the job description.
    • Provide examples. Use scenarios and short stories to demonstrate the skills you have that are mentioned in the job description.
  • Interviews
    • Use your transferable skill examples when answering questions such as “Tell me about yourself”, “What are your strengths?”, and “Why should we hire you?”.
    • Share your examples that showcase how you used or developed the specific transferable skills that the employer is looking for. Organize your examples by using the PAR Method: Project + Action = Result.
    • At the end of the interview you may be asked, “Is there anything you would like to add that we didn’t get to discuss?”. This is a great opportunity to share your transferable skill examples that you didn’t get to mention.
    • Also at the end of the interview, you will be asked, “Do you have any questions for me?”. Ask, “What characteristics does a successful person have in this organization?”. Listen to the answer and then reply with your transferable skill example that matches the characteristics that they mentioned.
  • LinkedIn
    • List transferable skills in your skills section and get endorsements
    • Talk about skills you have gained from past experiences in your summary or experience section
    • Ask for recommendations from past managers that focus on your transferable skills
    • See the LinkedIn Cheat Sheet & the Wentworth LinkedIn Guide

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

From Co-op to Commencement

By: Abbey Pober

When he first discovered his passion for software engineering Ethan Arrowood never thought he’d be turning down opportunities to interview with Google and Twitter to accept a co-op offer from Microsoft. Across his back-to-back co-ops, Ethan gained experience as a software engineer and worked with groundbreaking technologies to deliver innovative cloud-computing applications to leading Microsoft clients around the world. His key to success as a growing programmer? Getting involved with opensource and finding a developer community that supported him. On campus, Ethan’s active involvement with Accelerate is what led to his interview, co-op, and ultimately a full-time role with Microsoft.

Our Spring 2019 Intern, Lauren Rodolakis, spent the semester learning all about Ethan’s journey from co-op search to accepting his full-time offer at Microsoft. Read the full article on the Wentworth website, and check out our video interview here.

Arrowood at MicrosoftThank you for sharing your experience with us, Ethan! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Co-op Stories: Jasmine Andrade

By: Jasmine Andrade

Jasmine is a Wentworth Junior studying Interdisciplinary Engineering concentrating in Manufacturing Engineering and minoring in Industrial Design & Business Management, with a concentration in Project Management. She recently completed her second co-op at Amazon Robotics (AR) as the Technical Operations Co-op, Process Engineer. Jasmine generously shared her story with us:

Jasmine at Amazon Robotics

Her career goal is to become a Product Design Engineer or Innovation and Design Engineer, so she chose this combination of concentrations and minors to make her a well-rounded engineer and to meet her career goal.

“In a Product Design Engineer role, it is important to have skills in Design/Innovation (Industrial Design Minor), Research & Development (Interdisciplinary Engineering) and Manufacturing/Process/Industrial Engineering (Manufacturing Engineering Concentration). You must also have the ability for negotiating and communicating with internal and external business partners, contractors and vendors (Business Management minor). The variety of knowledge and perspectives that my concentration and minor provides allows me to continuously look at a problem through a multidisciplinary lens.”

  • Tell us about your second co-op at Amazon Robotics: 

The Technical Operations Co-op is responsible for delivering and supporting operations and production projects by collaborating with Amazon Robotics Tech Ops Engineering process owners and other cross-functional team members.

  • What interested you in this company/the role?

The culture of Amazon, the peculiar and eccentric ways of sustaining their mission to being “earth’s most customer-centric company for four primary customer sets: consumers, sellers, enterprises, and content creators” is what stood out. Amazon gives you the freedom to think a little differently and to embrace differences. Amazon works to avoid being bland, “big homogeneous, corporate Borg” and aims to stay transparent in what the company needs to continuously work on and improve.

The role stood out because it was different from the my previous role as a Surface Mount Technology (SMT) Manufacturing Engineer at Raytheon IDS, the Process Engineering positions would provide me with a new skillset and also build on what I learned as an SMT Engineer. The position description also starts with “Are you inspired by invention? Is problem solving through teamwork in your DNA? Do you like the idea of seeing how your work impacts the bigger picture? Answer yes to any of these and you’ll fit right in here at Amazon Robotics (AR). We are a smart team of doers that work passionately to apply cutting edge advances in robotics and software to solve real-world challenges that will transform our customers’ experiences in ways we can’t even image yet. We invent new improvements every day. We are Amazon Robotics and we will give you the tools and support you need to invent with us in ways that are rewarding, fulfilling and fun.” The statement provided before you even look at the position description draws you into the possibilities and potential with AR.

  • What was your search process like? And how did you prepare for your interviews?

My search process included applying to 30+ co-op positions that fit my interest and skill set. I also reached out to my LinkedIn network for positions that I was interested in. I utilized the CO-OPS + CAREERS interviews questions list and wrote out all my questions for my on the phone interview for reference. For the in person interview, Amazon provided an outline for potential questions and the format for how they “grade” or determine if you fit culture and position. I wrote out all those questions and practiced answering them out-loud by myself and did a practice interview with friends.

  • While on co-op, what project(s) were you a part of, or something that you worked on, that has inspired you? 

One of the project I had the pleasure to work on was for “a new, fully-electric delivery system – Amazon Scout – designed to safely get packages to customers using autonomous delivery devices” (https://blog.aboutamazon.com/transportation/meet-scout). I worked on preparing work instructions and set up for the alpha build. Through this process I was able to see how important the Process Engineering and Technical Operation is to Amazon and how we function cross- functionally with other divisions in Amazon to sustain the mission of being a customer-centric company. This project encouraged me to “Think Big”, “Insist on the Highest Standards” and to “Deliver Results”. These principles are something that stood out within this project and motivated me to continue to develop these skills in the projects that followed.

  • Knowing what you know now, how will you approach your Fall co-op/co-op search differently?

My approach to applying for fall co-op is to find/apply for positions that I see myself transitioning into a full time role. In addition, look at the company culture, history and mission. I am differently more picky in selecting co-ops this semester because I want to make sure I am applying to a companies that I see myself at, long-term and will provide me what the skills I need to acquire to meet my career goal of being a Product Design Engineer.

  • What advice do you have for students who are interested in working for a company like Amazon Robotics?

Go for it! Don’t be afraid to be yourself in your interview, embrace your experiences and peculiar ways to engineering and design thinking. Learn and be curious about everything, commit to being a life-long learner and dive deep into understanding the problem before seeking a solution. Also, remember who your customer is and how your idea or solution will benefit them.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Jasmine! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Co-op Stories: Joey Cordeiro

By: Joey Cordeiro

Joey Cordeiro is a Junior in the Electrical Engineering program at Wentworth. He completed his first co-op with Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) in Newport, RI as a Student Trainee/Torpedo Systems Engineer. Joey recently sat down with CO-OPS + CAREERS to share his co-op story.

Student on Naval Base

Tell us about your first co-op:

I worked in the Systems Integration and Test Branch in the Undersea Weapons, Vehicles, and Defensive Systems Department. My role was to support the build and programming of a test set for an electronics assembly used in a weapon system. I worked under and was mentored by several experienced electrical and computer engineers. I had already completed a summer internship with NUWC last summer.

What interested you in NUWC?

Working for a defensive and weapons company has sparked my interest for a few years now. I always knew that if I got into this line of engineering then it would be a very satisfying job, and I would be working on something that has an impact on today’s world.

Applying for a role with the Navy, were there extra steps you needed to take?

The application process was like most other engineering internships, including submission of a lengthy application, resume, and doing a few initial phone interviews. The process became much more involved once an offer was made and I accepted. The process of acquiring the required security clearance to work this government job was a lengthy one at that. The procedure was well worth it looking back; getting the great opportunity to work for a strong Navy operation such as NUWC.

What was a typical day like at your co-op?

I normally spend my mornings reading torpedo specification documents and reading up on the hardware that I would be working with. There is an abundance of information and aspects of undersea weapons to learn about. The rich history of the vigorous engineering and years of hard work that has gotten NUWC to where it is today is truly what gets me excited to come to work every morning. I would typically spend all of my afternoon in the labs with my project team members working on the various tasks of our project. This spring co-op, I spent a majority of my time building a test set for the electronics assembly being programmed for the torpedo.

You are completing your second co-op with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. What has changed between your first co-op and your current?

I, along with my co-workers and managers, had more confidence in me to give me more responsibility and work load. I was able to work on multiple aspects of my electronics assembly program. On my first co-op I spent a lot of time working on specification documents, and revising and updated them to Navy standards. This time around, I was able to complete more hands-on work involving design, fabrication, and testing of a torpedo test-set.

Why did you choose to return for a second co-op with your employer? What advice do you have for students who are interested in returning to their first co-op employer?

I returned to NUWC for this co-op for many reasons. One of the main reasons is because of the satisfaction I got from working for the Navy. Seeing the great things we do as a 3000-person team here at NUWC, it was a no-brainer for me to return. A lot of it also had to do with my knowledge of defense systems as a whole. I learned a lot on my first internship, but I wanted to learn more and I felt that another 4-month co-op would do just that. I wanted to learn as much as possible about undersea warfare and what it feels like to serve the Navy fleet every day.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Joey! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Adjusting to the Workplace Part 1: Advice from an Advisor

By Ria Kalinowski

There are many differences between attending school and starting work at a co-op or job. It can be a bit of a culture shock to make the transition. The schedule is different and expectations are new, so it will take time to make the adjustment. To prepare further, click here to listen to Wentworth Alumni talk about their experience and what advice they have for adjusting to the workplace.

  1. Communication

During your first week, check in with your supervisor about how they like to be communicated with. Maybe they like you to keep a running list of questions and go over them in a weekly meeting. Maybe they would prefer you to pop by their desk whenever something comes up. Maybe they use Slack or Skype for Business. If you have questions or need to call out sick, learn how to ask and when to do it.

Speaking of asking questions, don’t be afraid to do just that! If something comes up that you don’t know or need clarification on, do some research first, and then ask. A good practice is to show that you’ve done the research and are looking for information that can’t be found elsewhere.

Something critical to ask about is expectations. One major aspect of work that is different from school is that at work, you do not receive feedback in the same way. At school, grades are given frequently and without solicitation. You can compare your progress with how you did in past semesters and with how you are doing compared with others. At work, feedback can range from daily check-ins, to weekly meetings, or yearly evaluations. It may be vague or infrequent. When you first start interacting with your supervisor, work with them to set goals that are concrete and measurable, so you know what is expected.

Workplace collaboration

If you aren’t receiving regular feedback from your supervisor, check in with them after the first few weeks to ask how they think you are doing. Ask for suggestions for improvements. It’s better to ask for redirection rather than continue down the wrong path.

2. Relationships

Another big difference between work and school are the people you interact with. In school, you are surrounded by your peers and often, you can pick the professors you learn from. At work, there may be several different generations you are asked to collaborate with and present to. You will have to manage relationships with people you may not get along with or agree with and sometimes, those people may be in a position of power. It’s important to behave as civilly and professionally as possible, as these are people you will see every day. You may also need references from them in the future!

One of the main relationships that you will engage in is the one with your supervisor. During your interactions with them, you may receive negative feedback or constructive criticism. It’s important to take this feedback professionally. Keep in mind that not all supervisors receive extensive management training. While this is a time to be developing your interpersonal skills, your supervisor may be working on their own skills as well. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses while gaining an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your supervisor and what motivates them will help you navigate that relationship.

There may be people you adore spending time with at work, as well! It’s awesome to find people at work to be friends. Try not to complain about other work people to them as you never know what can get back to others.

Workplace culture

This is a good time to start building a network of professionals to mentor you and help you learn about the industry and professionalism. Mentors can help you navigate company norms, understand hierarchy, and coach you to move up in your career.

3. Accountability

Much of your time at school is spent working independently. At work, often you are part of a team working towards a shared end goal. It’s important that you pull your weight, meet deadlines, and communicate with your teammates. Along with being accountable to a team, you are accountable for showing up every day. One of the biggest issues that leads to co-op termination is students not showing up or consistently showing up late.

Take notes in meetings (not on your phone as this can be misconstrued) and ask for more work when you finish a project. It might even be a good idea to have a list of smaller projects that are not time sensitive to dive into if you finish other work early.

While it’s important to work hard and not sit idle, it’s also important, in a full-time job, to take time off to recharge. Vacations aren’t scheduled for you like they are during school so make sure you take care of your mental health.

4. Success!

The key to being successful so that your job is secure, and might even lead to a promotion, is to make yourself indispensable. Be positive, professional, and proactive!

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Co-op Stories: Vanessa Cardona

By: Vanessa Cardona

Vanessa Cardona is currently a Junior in the Biomedical Engineering program at Wentworth. She completed her first co-op with Sanofi Genzyme in Allston, MA as part of the Manufacturing Engineering Group. Vanessa recently sat down with CO-OPS + CAREERS to share her co-op story.

VanessaCardonaCo-op

Tell us about your co-op with Sanofi Genzyme:

For my first co-op, I had the privilege of working at Sanofi Genzyme in Allston, MA where I was part of the engineering group. As the co-op student, some of my responsibilities included: walking down piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&ID’s) to as built systems at the plant, developing and executing engineering studies, preparing commissioning and qualification documentation for the plant’s major annual maintenance shutdown, and supporting some of the engineers with implementations and/or improvements throughout the site.

What interested you in Sanofi and your role with the engineering group?

Prior to my co-op I had been interning at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where I worked in a few different departments, the last of them being the Cell Manipulation Core Facility. While in this department, I was exposed to a cleanroom setting and a world of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), standard operating procedures (SOP’s) and much more. This was a completely different side of the hospital that I had never seen before, but I loved every part of it.

My dad had been working at the Sanofi in Allston and for as long as I can remember, he would talk to me about the work being done there. As I began the co-op search process, I learned about a few co-op positions that were available for the spring at a few of the different Sanofi sites. From what I knew about Sanofi and from what I was reading in the job descriptions, I thought this would be a great place to start. One of the available positions was being the co-op student for the engineering group. As I read through the job description and the expectations for this role, I found myself checking the imaginary check boxes for all the experiences I was hoping to get out of my co-op. The role offered so many opportunities to grow and learn about working in the industry.

What was your search process like? And how did you prepare for your interviews?

Searching for a co-op was difficult and sometimes stressful. As the fall semester was coming to an end, assignments were piling up, finals were slowly creeping up, and I needed to find a placement for my spring co-op. During my gaps and after classes I would look at co-op postings on WITworks and check the job postings list on just about every company I could think about. After I landed an interview with Sanofi, I prepared for my interview by meeting with my Co-op Advisor to go through potential questions the employer could ask me and by ensuring my resume reflected my previous experiences, as well as my assets.

What was a typical day like at your co-op?

On a typical day I would arrive at Sanofi at 7AM, settle in and decide what were my top priorities for that day. At 8AM we would have our daily department meeting where we would talk about any safety concerns, the status of any projects, and anything else that came up. Because every month we would have a new meeting leader, I was able to take on the role for the month of April. It was intimidating at first but with the support of my supervisor and co-workers I was able to adjust quickly and pick up on a lot of the terminology.

After our morning meeting I would continue to work on my assigned projects which varied from day to day.  One of my main priorities became leading a couple engineering studies so I had to ensure everything was set to perform the engineering studies. This meant making sure the protocol was written and approved, and that we had the support and materials we needed to execute the studies. I also communicated with the third party who was supporting us with one of the engineering studies to make sure they were completing the tests we needed them to perform, as well as ensuring the proposal they sent contained accurate information.

While the engineering studies were taking place, I was also supporting with other tasks like walking down and updating piping and instrumentation drawings, which quickly became one of my favorite things to do. Depending on the system or the equipment, I would find myself in the clean room, completely gowned up (coveralls, booties, etc.) or in the utility space with my hard hat and safety shoes.

What lessons have you learned on your first co-op that will benefit your next co-op?

One huge lesson I learned while being on co-op was that it’s okay to not know everything and to give yourself time to adjust to the new environment. Being new to the industry, it takes time to become comfortable with the terminology, equipment, and systems. When I first started at Sanofi I definitely had moments where I felt like I didn’t fit in because of my lacking level of expertise in the field. As I attended more meetings and met with the different people in my group, I found myself using that terminology not just in the field but in the documents I was writing as well.

What advice do you have for students during their first co-op search?

I would say one piece of advice that has followed me throughout my life is to always ask questions. If this is your first time stepping into the field, there are going to be things you are unsure about. Also, learn as much as you can. Take advantage of new opportunities, shadow different people, try new things, and be proactive.
Being on co-op is the best time to get a preview of what it’s like to work in a professional setting.

In terms of the co-op search process I would say to start early and to take advantage of opportunities to interact with employers whether that be at the co-op fair or at any other event. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about companies, but also a chance to show employers what you can offer to their company.  I think another important tip for the co-op search is recognizing your network and identifying people who might be able to support you during the process. Whether that be by providing you with advice or connecting you to a potential employer.

If there is anything else you’d like to share about your co-op or your search process that was not covered by these questions please include that below.

My co-op experience was amazing. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and for the supportive people I met along the way. Everyone was always so willing support me with projects I was working on and provide me with advice for the future.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Vanessa! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.